By The COAST Reporter
Federation of Kenya Employees wants the government to institute an alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism to reduce the work log at the industrial court.
In a speech read on behalf of the National President Mark Obuya, during the Coast Branch Annual General Meeting on Thursday in Mombasa by the chief Executive officer of the federation Jacqueline Mugo over 1300 cases are laying un attended to at the industrial Court.
She said there is need to strengthen the capacity of labor officers so as to resolve issues arising between the Employer and the employee.The CEO further appealed to the Chief Justice to set up a dispute Resolution tribunal to handle the increasing labor disputes.
“We cannot continue sending cases to the industrial court when we know very well that its already flooded with so many cases” Mugo said.On the issue of minimum wage bill she said the federation had successfully managed to stop any increment in 2016. She however wants the employers to be given tax rebates when they take on fresh graduates as interns.
She said the position of the federation was that wage increments must take into consideration the capacity of the employers to pay the wages on sustainable basis.“We are advocating for policies that not only protect the welfare of the workers but also promote the competitiveness of enterprises. Such policies include those that improve the productivity levels at the enterprises“she added
The CEO added that this year they submitted proposals to the Government on options to improve the welfare of workers without hurting the economy. “I am happy to report that the government took our proposals on tax reforms on basic food commodities and interim measures on importation of scarce basic foods commodities like maize, this will ease the cost of living for the lower income households” ” she said. She noted that the workers unions are demanding for a minimum wage increment. “One thing we all agree on is that we need our workers to have a decent life. However the approach of continual increase of wages with no regard to performance of the enterprises is not the right way to address this issue. We need to avoid forcing companies to lay off workers or even close shop because of wages which they cannot afford. Let us protect first the jobs we have” she added
She called upon unions to support employers’ efforts to improve the performance of the enterprises so as have enough funds to create jobs and pay higher wages. “ We need to stop our companies from relocating to other countries hence losing jobs to Ethiopia, Egypt, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and Rwanda because our minimum wages are too high” The CEO lamented.
She said Kenya’s minimum wage is at around Ksh. 11,000, while in Egypt it is at around Ksh. 6,500; and in Ethiopia Ksh. 5,000 adding that employers are relocating to these places for cheap labor.
On the forthcoming general elections the federation has called upon the government and political leaders to ensure they maintain peace and safety and conduct fair and credible elections so that the country remains peaceful throughout this period.